Football, bloody hell!
Arsenal 1-- Manchester United 3. What. A. Game. End to end to end to end to end. An absolutely pulsating 90 minutes. It reminded me a lot of the Man United Arsenal games of the early 2000s in that it was almost exhausting just to watch, never mind actually play in it. United were brilliant, with Pogba and Lingard at the heart of everything good. Arsenal to their credit, threw everything at United, but came up against arguably the best keeper in the world at the very top of his game. Best game of the season so far by a country mile.
Jesse Lingard's first for Manchester United against Arsenal. I love a good team goal. Lingard harried the Arsenal back line, won the ball, laid it off to Lukaku who fed Martial, Martial in turn flicked it through to Lingard who slotted beautifully beyond Cech off the post and in.
Lingard has really grown into his role in the United team in recent weeks. Mata and Mkhitaryan have had their fair share of chances to shine as the drive and attacking heartbeat of the United team, and both have come up short. What Lingard lacks in technical skill, he makes up for in dogged determination. If he can keep up these sort of performances for United over the coming weeks, M&M will struggle to get back into this side.
Player of the weekend:
David De Gea-- What a performance from the Spaniard. His 14 saves in this game tied a Premier League record, and on another day with another keeper in the net Arsenal would have won this game by a couple of goals. The xG stats at the end of the game highlight just how brilliant a performance this was from De Gea. Arsenal's "expected goals" was 4.6, meaning they should have been realistically expected to score 4.6 times based on the chances they created. But De Gea's "have to see it to believe it" brilliance limited them to just the one goal.
Is he the best in the world? I think the only keeper that comes close is Neuer, and week in week out he has an easier ride of it in the Bundesliga than De Gea does in the Premier League. It's close, but I think on recent form De Gea is the best of the very best.
Was it or wasn't it a red card?
It's a tough one, but I don't think it was. There's no doubt that Pogba's studs landed on the inside of Bellerin's knee, but why did Bellerin kneel down like that to block the ball? Pogba's foot wasn't high, and if Bellerin had been standing up right, Pogba may have landed just on the top of his foot or missed him all together. Had Bellerin been standing, and Pogba had caught him halfway up his leg, that would have been as obvious a red card as they come, but I don't see what Pogba was supposed to do in that situation, or where he was supposed to land given the unusual nature of how Bellerin went down. It reminded me a bit of the Mane red card earlier this season-- neither Mane or Pogba had any intent to injure their opponent (not that intent matters anyway) but I think the big difference is the part that Ederson and Bellerin played in each incident. With Mane's red card, his foot was high, and Ederson's face was where you would expect it to be (it wasn't as if he went down for the ball with his head), so Mane's challenge was reckless, endangered his opponent and was a justified red card. In this instance however, I don't think Pogba could have expected Bellerin to kneel down that way, so even though it looks a real nasty one on the replay, it is not a red for me. Maybe a yellow... but even so, I think it was an unfortunate coming together of the two players and Pogba can consider himself very unlucky to be sent off. For the neutral, it is a massive blow, as he is now out of the derby next weekend, so it will be back to Jose's Park the Bus football as United will be without their best player.
Team of the weekend:
Valencia Christensen Williams Young
David Silva Pogba Coutinho
Hazard Firmino Lingard